Recently, Cambodia's science and technology sector has undergone major changes. The STI Policy (2019-2025), which was established as a result of the K-Innovation project in 2018, was revised to STI Policy (2020-2030) and finally approved by the government at the end of last year. Cambodia's first science and technology innovation plan has been established. Also, in early 2020, there was a major change in governance. The Ministry of Industry and Handcraft was changed to the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation (MISTI), and as a sub-organization, the General Department of Science, Technology and Innovation, and the National Institute of Science and Innovation were established. In the ongoing "Rectangular Strategy Ⅳ 2019-2023," detailed strategies include "human resource development in the science and technology sector" and "diversification of Cambodia's economic structure through energy and digital technologies and fourth industrial revolution". These are based on science and technology, and ecent governance and policy changes in Cambodia can be seen as an expression of its willingness to realize them.
The project is designed as following project of the project(“Policy Consultation on National STI Policy Development and STI System Management for Cambodia's Policymakers”) from 2018 to 2019. Through the first phase of the project, STEPI had provided consultations for establishing Cambodia's STI policy, and Cambodian policymakers recognized the importance of technology roadmap and wrote pilot roadmap through sharing experiences and training in Korea. The second phase of the project, which will take place over the next three years, aims to develop Cambodia's strategic technologies for successful implementation of key STI policies, including STI Policy 2020-2030 and to establish national technology strategies and technology roadmaps that can actually be applied to the policy.
Like the first phase of the project, it was expected to visit each other's countries to interact and conduct on-site surveys, but the plan was revised completely due to COVID-19, which has been sweeping the world. STEPI and GS-NSTC decided to make a service contract to select Cambodia's national strategic technologies by GS-NSTC and STI experts in Cambodia with advice from Korean experts. All discussions were conducted in writing and video conferences, and researchers from both countries made utmost efforts to minimize the limitations of communication and the negative impact on the project.
The consultation process for the project had the following activities:
With the recognition on the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak, STEPI suggested a service contract for survey and operation of expert committees conducted by GS-NSTC. Detailed discussions for service implementation were conducted by e-mail and video conference.
The contract was signed in June 2020. Cambodia's main tasks were research and analysis on Cambodia’s STI policy and environment, establishment of expert committees, selection of Cambodia's six strategic technology groups through surveys and consultation, and preparation of reports. Korean researchers prepared and provided survey guidelines and list of candidate technology groups for expert surveys.
A video conference for interim review was held in July 2020. Korean researchers reviewed the survey questions shared by GS-NSTC and provided some comments, while GS-NSTC held the first meeting of a 17-member expert committee in August.
The report was finalized and submitted in late October after complementary process of first draft of the report with Korean researchers. The main results of the survey, which involved a total of 50 experts, are as follows. Cambodia's strategic technology group was followed by ICT (60%), agricultural technology (14%), and biohealth technology (12%), and computer software, food emanation products, veterinary medicine, food microbiology, and nutrition.
This year, there were many difficulties due to the difficulties of COVID-19, but it was able to achieve more than expected. First, Cambodia's national strategic technology was derived as a necessary procedure for establishing a national strategic technology roadmap. ICT, agricultural technology, and biohealth will be selected as the top strategic technologies and reflected in the technology roadmap of six detailed strategic technologies to be implemented from 2021.
In addition, both Korea and Cambodia have accumulated experience in dealing with unpredictable factors that may arise in ODA projects, such as COVID-19. In 2021, it is expected that direct exchanges due to COVID-19 will be difficult, and we expect to make preemptive business plans based on this year's experience.
Finally, the effectiveness of the project was confirmed in enhancing Cambodia's capabilities. GS-NSTC carried out the process of deriving national strategic technologies in the event of a sudden disaster. The project was organized so that exchanges and education and training conducted through the first phase of the project could be connected organically to the second phase of the project, and both Korean and Cambodian researchers participated in the second phase of the project without much change.
Chapter 1. Project Overview
Chapter 2. Capacity Development Process
Chapter 3. STI Policies of Cambodia
Chapter 4. Strategic Technologies Roadmap Priorities
Chapter 5. Conclusion